Older peoples mental health team

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About the service

The older peoples mental health team is a specialist service that is embedded within the integrated and recently transformed community mental health pathway in Barnsley. The service is focused on recovery informed care and management.

We are made up of two teams –the core team and the enhanced team. Both teams include a range of professionals who provide psycho-social support, medical and occupation treatment and intervention for individuals who have moderate to severe mental health difficulties and complex physical health difficulties which can impact upon their mental health.

Our aim is to reduce mental health symptoms and levels of distress by assessing an individual’s mental health needs and offering a variety of treatment options. Team members within the service have experience and specialist knowledge in understanding problems that arise with age (e.g. mental health difficulties, physical illness and frailty) which can lead to an increased level of need.

What is the difference between the core and enhanced treatment pathways?

The core team
The core team offers a recovery focused approach to mental health and physical health needs. The core pathway is intended for service users with moderate to severe mental health difficulties who require a less complex package of care, predominantly delivered by one clinician. Core pathway service users may only require brief or short-term mental health intervention or may require longer-term contact with mental health services during a period of stability.

The core pathway incorporates the Single Point of Access (SPA). The SPA accepts all external referrals to the service and can be accessed via general practitioners.  SPA is an integrated team within the core pathway and will undertake screening, triage and initial assessments. Appointments will be prioritised on need and initial contact can range between the same day and up to 14 days after referral.

The core team comprises 6 ‘neighbourhood’ patches across the Barnsley borough to make sure that referrals go directly to the right team so service users’ needs are met in a timely and efficient manner.

The enhanced team
They offer a recovery focused approach to mental health. The enhanced team provides flexible and assertive engagement of service users depending upon the complexity and individuality of their needs. Largely, people that require the enhanced team have long-standing difficulties in managing their mental health, difficulties with risk and engagement and require intervention from a multidisciplinary approach. The team brings together a variety of skills and experience into the pathway to ensure the team is well placed to meet service user needs and provide evidence-based and cost-effective interventions.

The team aims to meet the needs of service users with severe and complex mental health problems and their carers in a multidisciplinary, community-based model of service delivery. The focus is on people’s wellbeing, and on supporting them to live independently for as long as possible. The team provides a holistic care approach to enable people to reach their potential and live well in their community. It may be that after a period of treatment or intervention within the enhanced pathway that individuals are stepped down to the core pathway, discharged back to the care of their GP or provided with opportunities to access further appropriate support within the community.

Why would someone choose the service?

Many people approach and deal with ageing as a natural progression in their lives, for others it is accompanied by negative thoughts and feelings.

The community mental health team for older adults recognises that difficulties faced by older people are different from any other group in society. Our staff have all chosen to work in this area and have undertaken training to help us understand the difficulties you may be experiencing.

Our team will assess your mental health needs, looking at all aspects of your life so that we can work together to design the best treatment plan for you.

The types of treatment we offer include; managing depression and anxiety, managing the effects of bereavement, helping people adapt to different ways of coping and getting back into the community. For those who have long-term mental health conditions such as schizophrenia and bipolar affective disorder, we offer education about the illness, ways of coping and managing symptoms and how the ageing process affects the illness as well as drug therapy. We also offer advice and support to family and carers.

Our service also runs a drop-in group where people can meet others with similar difficulties to help each other and develop friendships.

Whatever your diagnosis, our staff will help you work at your own pace and always respect your wishes.

We have received a range of service user feedback from evaluation questionnaires which include comments such as:

  • “The support and treatment I have received was excellent”
  • “I am highly satisfied”
  • “ I am in a much better place than I was at the beginning of my treatment”

Staff you may meet